HELICOPTER OR FIXED-WING AIRCRAFT: A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS FOR MOOSE SURVEYS IN YUKON TERRITORY
The cost-effectiveness of using helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in stratified random block surveys for moose is compared in two areas of Yukon Territory, Canada. Low-intensity stratification surveys were carried out with fixed-wing aircraft in both areas. Subsequently a number of sample units in each of 3 moose density strata were surveyed by helicopters in one area and fixed-wing aircraft in the other area. Sightability bias was determined by high-intensity searches of subsections of some sample units by helicopter in both areas. To achieve similar precision levels in moose population estimates, the fixes-wing technique was shown to be 15.9% more expensive than the helicopter technique at current helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft charter rates. This seemed to be the result of a greater sightability correction factor and associated sampling variance with the fixed-wing technique compared to the helicopter technique. Helicopter charter rates would have to by >4.6 higher than fixed-wing aircraft rates for the fixed-wing technique to be more cost-effective.
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